Anonymous donation helps build 2 homes

By Russ Corey and Tom Smith, TimesDaily

KILLEN, Ala. (AP) — The country music group Alabama once sang about angels being among us.

In part, the song states the angels were:

“Sent down to us from somewhere up above.

“They come to you and me in our darkest hours, to show us how to live, to teach us how to give, to guide us with the light of love.”

People might debate the existence of angels, but Buddy and Anne Robertson are convinced they’re real.

The angel in the Robertson’s life is an anonymous donor who came forward and provided enough money to complete the construction of a home for the couple and their 10-year-old grandson, Devin, who is physically challenged and has a number of medical problems.

“Hopefully, we will have (the family in the house) for Christmas,” said Barbara Austin, a member of the local group that raised money for the project. “Our goal is to give them a great Christmas present for Devin and his family, one they will never forget.”

Work on the house is progressing at a steady pace.

The heating and air conditioning work is about finished and drywall is being hung inside.

“The house is really coming on,” Anne Robertson said. “The brick is completed. We’re going to have a brick house.”

Once the drywall is up, it has to be painted. Cabinets have to be installed, along with appliances and flooring.

“We’re hoping and praying we will be in there by Christmas. We count our blessings every day and say, ‘thank you. Lord,’ ” Robertson said. “We know we have been blessed, so blessed. We’re excited and looking forward to having Christmas in a new house. It would be the best Christmas we’ve ever had.”

Austin said the group was planning additional fundraisers when the anonymous donor stepped up and offered to complete the project. She said the only thing she knows about the donor is that the person lives out of town. Austin said the group was contacted by a liaison for the donor, who said the person wanted to finish the project.

“They said money was no object, and we were told to get what is needed to make them comfortable in the house,” Austin said. “We do not know and will never know who put the money up. All we know is that we have an angel who has stepped in and is building the (Robertson’s) house.”

Anne Robertson said she and her husband take Devin to see progress being made at the house when it’s nice outside.

“He just can’t figure out what’s going on, since the house is so big,” she said.

The family is currently living in a small manufactured home.

Austin said the actions of the donor prove there are people who care for those who are less fortunate, just like in the Alabama song.

The actions of the unknown donor have caused a ripple effect.

The group had already raised quite a bit of money when the donor stepped in to complete the project. The original money will now be used to help the group begin building a house for a single mother and her 8-year-old daughter.

Amanda Redding is a 2003 graduate of Brooks High School and has aspirations of attending college.

Redding recently received the surprise of her life from Austin when she informed her of the group’s plans.

“I was in complete shock,” Redding said. “I had no idea. I thought I was having a heart attack when I found out.”

Redding said she saw the house mentioned on Facebook, then Austin called and told Redding’s mother.

“She told me, and I thought she was still kidding,” Redding said.

It wasn’t until Austin showed Redding the floor plans that the news became believable.

“We have kept it a total secret,” Austin said. “We hope to start on this house this year or early next year and have her in there by spring or summer.”

Redding found out about the house, which will be built on property near her parents’ home, on Nov. 21. Redding and her daughter now live with her parents.

“She was floored,” said her mother, Shelia Redding. “I don’t think her feet have hit the ground yet. She cried and cried and cried.”

Shelia Redding said her daughter told Austin there were “a whole lot more people worthier than her.” She said Austin told her daughter why she was chosen.

“Amanda’s had a lot of hardships in her life,” Redding said.

Her daughter, Autumn, was born a cleft lip and heart problems, but is now 8 years old and doing fine.

Austin said the group is working with local car dealers to help Redding get a vehicle for transportation to and from work.

“We still need furniture, a mattress and box springs, a television and dining room set,” she said “We have all the appliances. We need a washer and dryer.”

Austin said four Shoals churches have committed to helping. She said Long-Lewis Ford has challenged other car dealers in the area to put up $1,500 each to help Redding finance a car.

Shelia Redding said the work of the Killen group is evidence there are still good people in the world who are willing to help others.

She said her daughter, despite her problems, is always ready to help other people.

“These people don’t know how thankful we are,” Shelia Redding said. “God works miracles every day.”